Show #8: November 21, 2004
Johnny La Rock’s Experimental Music Night
w/ Johnny La Rock & Mush Mouth
Dead House Club
Zone Music Inc.
Eddie Fleisher aka Johnny La Rock is one of the better friends I made from the aforementioned Cleveland/ExBe scene. I believe we just got to know each other by chatting on the Experimental Behavior message board, and he invited us up to Cleveland to perform at an “experimental music night'' he was curating. Him and his friend Aaron aka Mush Mouth were an old-school hip-hop duo appropriately called Johnny La Rock & Mush Mouth, who I believed headlined that evening. I was excited to meet them, but equally nervous to cross paths with Zone Music Inc.
The lone person behind Zone Music Inc. was a notorious ExBe message board ruffian who went by the handle of “H*machine.” (One letter is censored with an asterisk because he’s still active, acts exactly the same, and uses that name as his current act) I joined the message board around the same time that he did, but unlike me he posted with arrogance and bravado. He often bragged about being “The only famous person” on the message board, and oft-repeated what essentially became his catch-phrase, “I am the highest technology.” When we arrived at the venue, Eddie greeted us outside and filled us in on the night’s proceedings. Apparently he was not as familiar with the antics of H*machine, as one of the first things he mentioned to us was how difficult the first act Zone Music Inc. was currently being. He was already setting up, and was being very specific about his needs, telling Eddie that “He was the highest technology.” Eddie said he thought he was joking at first, but soon found out he was being 100% serious. I took a deep breath and entered the venue, prepared to meet this macho, handsome, dick-swinging force that was H*machine.
Instead, I met Joey (not his real name), a timid-looking fella who did not at all look like Val Kilmer in Top Gun. He had a TON of shit on stage, including a TV with a looping video of him dancing around CD-R's that were dangling by pieces of string from a basement ceiling. His set consisted of him sitting and playing techno surrounded by mountains of equipment, and he had a headset mic where he would periodically yell things during the songs like “I’m the best, nobody can mess with me.” It wasn’t terrible, and it wasn’t great, it was just what it was. I learned a valuable lesson that day. People who act tough online are mostly full of it and/or crazy.
I remember when we were hauling our stuff on stage, newly met ExBe member Lisa Miralia said “Hey, it’s the Electric Grandmother,” which is just one of those small things you remember. We played our set which went well, then were followed by the delightful chiptunes of Subroc and the dope styling of Johnny La Rock & Mush Mouth. I don’t recall anything about Dead House Club, sorry if you were in that band and you took the time to read this. We were able to stay for all of this one, and hung out with Eddie and Aaron in the venue parking lot for a little while before we went home. Another one of those small things you remember was Eddie joking that the after-party for this gig was “Him playing keyboard in the parking lot,” which immediately endeared us to him. We’re still good buddies with him, and we try to gig together whenever we’re in town.
The epilogue to this story - “H*machine” ended up getting permanently banned from ExBe for abusive behavior. (Side note, the reason he considered himself “famous'' is because he did the music for this guy who had a public access show with a cult following in California). Later, he threatened some ExBe friends over his being banned by messaging them on MySpace something like “The knife will cut deeper,” or some other nonsensical cryptic shit. I believe I saw him one other time at a later show we did at Pat’s. Ironically, I found him to be generally pleasant in person. Joey, if you someday find this write-up, please don’t cut me, everything I said here is true. I hope that you’ve chilled out since. Long live the highest technology.